In a recent speech, Deputy Speaker of Congress Rahul Gandhi said that India is not a nation, but a union of states. In saying this, he also referred to the Indian Constitution. Regarding the constitution, it describes India as a union of states. But to say that India is not a nation goes against the spirit of the constitution and the cultural heritage of this country. The Constitution of India says that India i.e. Bharat will be a union of states. This clearly shows that this country is Bharat. As soon as we call it Bharat, the geography as well as the cultural heritage of thousands of years come to mind.
Describing the geography of India, Vishnu Purana says:Uttaram yat samudrasya Himadreshchaiva dakshinam. Varsh Tad Bharatam Naam Bharati Yatr Santatih,” or“The land which is located north of the sea and south of the Himalayas is called Bharat Bhoomi, and the people residing in this holy land of Bharat are called Bhartiya.”
Not only that, Bharat is known as a nation not only because it is a landmass but also because Bharat is known to be one of the oldest and only living ancient civilizations in the world. Despite its diversity, there is a sense of unity in the culture here. It is an established fact that in India there are various sects, innumerable languages, dialects, costumes, castes, customs, etc. – yet all of our creation has been based on unity since ancient times.
In Western countries, nationalism is defined on the basis of their language, sovereign state, geographical borders, the will of the people, etc. Western thinkers try to consider nationalism on the basis of these criteria. However, it is clear that the concept of nationalism is not very old in Europe. Different countries in Europe have been granted nationhood at different times in history. In other words, we can say that nationalism was not there in the countries of Europe in ancient times. Kings and statesmen have greatly contributed to the process of building and polarizing this nationalism.
In comparison, if we see, in India, the nationality of India was not based on any king, language or polity. Many languages and dialects are spoken in our country. Many kings ruled in different parts of the country at different times. The entirety of India was not under the rule of a single ruler for most of the time. Before independence, uniform rules and regulations were never applicable in the country, yet India was always considered a nation. Why has the nationalism of India remained untouched for thousands of years, while the thinkers of the West and some of the thinkers of India, obsessed with Western ideas, try to measure nationalism in India by from the prism of the half-baked West? concept of nationalism? This is despite the fact that nationalism in the West is a relatively new and narrow concept, which only took shape in the 15th and 16th centuries.
In such a situation, those who want to see India’s nationalism through the prism of the West fail to understand that India has always been a great nation. They think that nation means the existence of a state system (government), so although they recognize the nationalism of European countries like England, Germany, France and others, but refuse to d to accept India as a nation. If we see it, the spirit of nationalism in Europe began after the French Revolution. But the irony is that the French Revolution, which was based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, culminated in the reign of Napoleon and the resulting reaction to his expansionist invasions gave rise to nationalism in other European countries. It is true that Bismarck unified Germany, but German nationalism, in essence, was born in reaction to Napoleon’s invasion. But it is absolutely true that the medieval West had not heard of nationalism or such modern concepts.
European countries established their colonies by expelling the original inhabitants of different parts of the world like North America, Australia, etc., which had their own ancient cultures, but were divided into smaller states which were in conflict between them. Nationalism also developed spontaneously in these regions. But if we see it, the concept of nationalism in all these countries is based on the system of governance there. In other words, it was believed that in order to consider a landmass as a nation, the condition was that there was a state apparatus (a government).
That is why those who are overwhelmed by the European concept of nationalism do not understand the nationalism of India. They are only able to appreciate a country which was considered a nation even in the Puranas, written thousands of years ago; where there is a sense of unity despite the diversity of languages, dialects, customs, caste beliefs, worship systems; where for thousands of years people have gone on pilgrimage in the four directions of the country; where the national idea has always been present despite different policies in different places. They believe that only after the arrival of the British Raj could a state system be established in the country. Hence, British rule is responsible for making India a nation.
But those people who have a strong belief and conviction, and rightly so, that in India, despite its diversity, there is a sense of unity among the people, who have their own cultural identity, their heritage; and that this unity is reflected in different ways, do not buy the idea that “India is a nation in the making” or that Indian nationalism is indebted to British rule. During the struggle for freedom, many revolutionary heroes sacrificed their lives for the country from all nooks and crannies, be it Bhagat Singh of Punjab, Rajguru of Maharashtra or Chandrashekhar Azad of Madhya Pradesh. It was then that heroes like Subramaniam Bharti of Tamil Nadu shook the foundations of British rule with their revolutionary writings and songs and Subhash Chandra Bose of Orissa challenged the British Empire by forming alliances at global. Failure to regard such a land as a nation cannot simply be called ignorance, but can also be sensed as a conspiracy.
Shri Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that India is not a nation also recalls his closeness to some students at Jawaharlal Nehru University who are currently facing criminal charges for their anti-national statements and sedition. It is no secret that slogans were thrown at Jawaharlal Nehru University saying that India will be torn apart (Bharat tere tukde honge). These alleged students are not only close to Shri Rahul Gandhi, but one of them was inducted into the Indian National Congress, and later fought an election on a Begusarai Congress ticket. .
It seems that without understanding the implications of his statement, Mr. Rahul Gandhi made this gaffe under the influence of these fringe separatist elements. It should be noted that till now, before independence and even after independence, no prominent Congress leader has said that India is not a nation. In such a situation, Shri Rahul Gandhi must be made aware of the dangerous implications of such statements by fellow politicians, thinkers and others. If Rahul Gandhi is not arrested, it can only help the designs of the separatists who want to demolish the only living ancient civilization in the world.
Ashwani Mahajan is the national co-organizer of Swadeshi Jagran Manch. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.
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